“Captain’s Log, star date 70-aught-eleventy-two: The crew is restless. Rations are not as high as they are used to, quarters seem to be closing in on us, and there have been more than a few murmurs of a mutiny. Snacks bought to last a month were gone in the first 20 minutes. I feel like as a captain, I should start rationing air, since the teenager seems to be using it in vast quantities as she fumes against the unfairness of life. The short furry crew are useless. Not only do they refuse to do any manual labor, but they drive one to drink all the spirits with their incessant barking at any neighbor having the nerve to walk in front of our house.”
Does any of this sound familiar in your home? We all say we want “quality time” with our family, and then a call for “shelter at home” happens, and here we are climbing the walls to escape the maniacs we live with.
So, what do we do?
1. Office Space — Hopefully you have the same amount of rooms in the house as you do people, but if this isn’t possible, use your kids’ old Science project trifold cardboard and arrange for “cubicles.” Each member needs to stay within for their own projects. (for babies and toddlers, a box will amuse them for hours. Just leave the flaps open. Child Protective Services frowns on packing your kids away seasonally like decorations.) Allow them to decorate their own cubicle. Yes, mayonnaise packets count as décor.
2. Sock Puppet Therapy — Are your spouse, kids and fur kids driving you to question your sanity at every moment, looking at you like you are their personal activity director, maid, and referee? Did your wife just take one dish out of the dishwasher and close it without putting any of the other dishes away? Are your kids using more than the recommended rations of 2 squares of TP a day? Did you just instruct them to poop in the yard now? You may need some Sock Puppet Therapy. A couple of old socks and googly eyes can do the trick. Vent to them about your unfulfilled dreams and frustrations. There. That’s the family that really listens to you anyway.
3. Hulu series counts as a marathon, right? — We know exercise is crucial. Running relays with your spouse on who can uncork a bottle of wine, refill the glasses and race back to the couch during the obligatory Hulu commercials, without spilling a drop, wins! That Handmaids Tale marathon isn’t going to run itself.
4. DIY for the Family — My kids have always been feral. We buy craft supplies for days that invariably go unused the day after. Break out the glitter glue! It’s time to craft your way to sanity! For other crafty ideas with your kids, try “Project Kid.”
5. Trick Your Kids Into Learning — If your kids are sneering at you when you try to institute some actual learning, steer them here. It’s also never too early to teach some good life skills like how to cook, fold laundry, or woodworking. Who doesn’t want to work with power tools?
6. Take Virtual Tours to all the famous museums you could never imagine your rowdy brood taking in together without some sort of a chocolate handprint “incident.” Walk around and enjoy the Louvre in your bunny slippers and glass of wine. And if that doesn’t dazzle your young ones, you can tour some of the newer Disney World rides here.
7. Glue Sanitizer to Every Remote and onto every device in your home so people have to sanitize continuously. In fact, just pressure wash the whole family and hose them down with sanitizer. You know how they live normally and are surprised you weren’t quarantined from your neighbors long ago.
8. Start an Organic Dust Bunny Farm under the couch. Now, dust bunnies are very timid creatures who like to gather near the back corners of the sofa, but a gentle broom can “coax” them to the front, if you ply them with enough pretzel crumbs.
9. A Virtual Family Reunion — via Zoom. This is as close as some of us can get in a military family, where we are guaranteed to be far from relatives. It’s free and easy to do. This also can work for “play dates” with your kid’s friends since they are bouncing off the walls.
10. Give Medical Teams A Hand — If you have the time or the capacity, please think about helping first aid workers, doctors, nurses, and even food service workers by making and donating cloth masks you’ve properly made at home. Each state or county probably has a sewing group or FB group dedicated to matching hospital requests to donors. Here’s the one I’m using in Hawaii. Here is one YouTube tutorial I found with a downloadable pattern.
However, you do it, Stay Home, Protect Others, and if you are going to spread something…let it be Love.